Overcoming Negative Emotions


I often know intellectually what I should feel & do (e.g., acceptance of what is, try to transmute negativity, etc. based on these teachings) and WANT to do what is expansive, but emotions (especially anger) often come back day(s) or hours after meditation where I thought I got past it. How do I truly and permanently get past it - and trust that I did? How do I know that I'm not just fooling myself, burying it in my subconscious where it will cause more/different problems later?

—Louize, US


Dear Louize,

The transformation of consciousness to which our soul invites us must be seen as a long-term process: long distance rather than a sprint.

Yes, it’s true some speak of satori or enlightenment as if it descends instantly from one moment to the next. I’m all for it, but experience teaches us that we can not control that, even if we would welcome it.

(It’s also true that should our ego be confronted with infinity we are just as likely to say, Well, wait a minute I have few things I need to do first, or, as St. Augustine put it so famously: “Make me good, Lord, but just not yet!”)

Certainly don’t see your meditative states wherein these lower emotions evaporate as being a form of suppression. Rather, it’s a form of therapy, expunging the (perhaps) deeply embedded tendencies, memory, and karma, like pulling out dandelions with very deep roots.

“Patience,” it has been well said, “is the fastest route to God.” Be self-accepting that these emotions will not be driven away for the mere wishing but have a life, indeed, a personality of their own.

“Oh, YOU again! Hey, buzz off, I’m busy and I’m tired of you.” Lift your eyes and invoke the serenity you felt in meditation, smile, and calmly burn away the fog of old emotions in the sunlight of peace.

“A saint is a sinner who never gave up!” Go for distance. Don’t be tough on yourself but don’t give in either, or, if you do, see it only as a temporary setback. Just “get up” again and keep trying.

This is where grace and the power of the guru enter into the equiation of 25% my effort; 25% the effort of the guru on my behalf; and 50% the grace of God!